Step down from the bully pulpit

So I sat down before bed Sunday night and wrote a short burst about “write only what you love” and the futility of sinking into the mud time and again. Life is too short, I shouted to the heart of the world.

I slept better that night. I awoke Monday morning rested, or at least more willing and ready to face the world. “I wrote something important last night,” I said to myself, even though I was too bleary-eyed to remember the specifics. I read it back over coffee and said, “Yes. Yes, this is what I’d rather spend time saying. Ray was such a wise man.”

You political types, do you really believe the worst of people, or do you cynically hurl insults at the wall knowing some will stick to your opponent if you fling enough of them? Do you really believe I hate all people of a certain hue so much I must oppress them? Don’t you think it’s simply that we have different ideas about how to love our neighbors and help them succeed? Do you realize that we agree that love, peace and understanding are universal values? I think you do, but being a political animal (and I insult animals by calling you that), you cannot acknowledge our common beliefs — you must not only disagree with me but question my humanity.

That’s why I don’t like to dwell on the political anymore, why I resist the call of my addiction, for, you see, I am a recovering political junkie. Politics appeals to the basest of our instincts, the instinct to force our way of thinking onto others, the instinct to bully. Roosevelt (Teddy) called the highest office a “bully pulpit” and he meant bully in a different sense than is common today, but the description fits: Politicians use their podium to bully the people they consider common, those they call “my people” or “my constituents” as if they can own human beings and impose their will. I reject the political; when I share my opinions, it is in a spirit of love so that you will understand, not in hate and spite so that you are demeaned and bullied into accepting that which you may not believe.

And here I am rambling about politics when I’ve just embraced “Write what you love, and love what you write.” I guess I just felt a need to explain why I don’t cry from the mountaintops, “The emperor has no clothes! No bullies! No hate!” every day. I guess I just need to repeat if we’d just love our neighbors we wouldn’t need all this political fuss.

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